violence = 'personal or social domination of any kind'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 13 21:59:22 UTC 2010

It may be worth mentioning that, just as "deconstruct" has come to mean
"analyze" generally, "fear of the Other" often implies utter irrationality,
even when an actual Other is trying to kill you (well, not *you*, of course
- somebody else) as in the "war" on "terror."  (Hope I got those
scare-quotes right.)  I heard an educated person dismiss concern over
al-Qaeda in the months after 9/11 as "fear of the Other for political
They'd shot their bolt, right?  But maybe that's not a linguistic issue.

A look at "other," def. 10, "sexual activity," persuades me that the
pre-1990 exx. are not "slang" as indicated but merely vague euphemisms
("that other related or suggested thing, you know, sex"). From 1990,
however, "a bit of the other" seems indeed lexicalized as (British) slang.

On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 4:18 PM, Ben Zimmer
<bgzimmer at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: violence = 'personal or social domination of any kind'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> >
> > I am not sure how seriously you may want to consider to update language
> > dictionaries based on post-modernist usage. Such basic words as "power",
> > "gift", "other" will need updates then as well. Perhaps it's best to
> > leave these to jargon dictionaries--philosophy, critical theory,
> > sociology, anthropology, cognitive science.
> The po-mo sense of "other", at least, is pretty well covered by OED3
> sense 9 (and the related verb entry), though its origins are in
> pre-po-mo philosophy.
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list